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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3239 ..

The ACT government is now spending $260,000 to upgrade the facilities at CMAG to display the foundation collection. I question whether the upgrade will be suitable or adequate; only time will tell. In addition to that $260,000, an unknown amount of money—because the commonwealth minister at this stage cannot tell me how much money—will be spent, at the cost of the Australian taxpayer, on packaging, insuring and returning the loaned elements back to the Nolan Foundation in the UK.

What about the Nolan Gallery at Lanyon? This matter was raised in the estimates committee last year and we were told that the government would consider a range of possible reuses of the building. We were told, and I quote from the Hansard:

Those uses could include developing the building as a visitor interpretation centre for Lanyon or other uses in the immediate term, possibly for staff office accommodation …

No matter what is done with the Nolan Gallery at Lanyon, it will involve spending money. Security will have to be improved, climate control will have to be upgraded and staff facilities will need to be improved. So the question is whether the cost of these upgrades, when combined with the money being spent at CMAG and the money being spent to send the Nolans to the United Kingdom to be lost forever to the Australian people, would not have covered the cost of implementing the recommendations of the 2003 feasibility study.

Might not that have honoured and respected the wishes of Sir Sidney and been respectful to his widow, Lady Nolan? Might not that have meant that the hundreds of works loaned to us, the people of Australia, would stay in Australia? This has been a short-sighted move by the government on the part of the Chief Minister.

That said, let me finish with a brief word or two about the Cultural Facilities Corporation. The CFC has a diverse range of duties to discharge, from managing a major theatre, a visual arts exhibition space and Civic Square, and managing preserving some of our most important heritage sites, to curating an exciting program of visual arts exhibitions, theatre events and public programs.

On top of that, it runs a commercial venture and places as little reliance on government funding as reasonably possible, even given its role in managing government assets. It does its work efficiently and with great skill, with a great team. I pay tribute to the work done in our community by the Cultural Facilities Corporation and congratulate the team for the richness they contribute to Canberra’s cultural life.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.25—Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission$497,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $497,000.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (1:06 am): I would just like to congratulate the government on their reappointment of the commissioner, Mr Baxter. I think he does a fabulous job—and well done to him.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

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